|Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.
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Sunday, May 25, 2003 Hanging in the bathroom is a wall of color now - not the messed up bathroom, btw, but the little one downstairs. the whole shower rod is draped with the fruits of my Random Roving Dye class from Stony Mountain Fibers.
The class was small, just Jen and me, and while I am always glad to meet new fiber fiends, there’s something to be said for three gals, who are already friends, just messing about with color. Barbara Gentry’s studio is my dream playland. Nestled in among the garden and tucked beneath trees, it’s light, airy, roomy, full of things I want to touch, with a great view out of any window. And there is a whole room for dyeing. Washing machine, double sink, bathtub, trestle tables, double cooking setup with pots big enough to bathe in. (hmmm - lots of bath references - my edges are fraying). The first time I met her, when I bought HeyBaby, she looked so full of an inner peace, I commented that she must love her life. The wattage on her smile cranked a notch higher when she said yes, she was.
Barbara recommended the Twisted Sisters book, which I had read and fallen in love with, and even said they put into words the very way she liked to go about dyeing - with spontaneity and intuition getting the main emphasis while scientific precision is given due respect, but not fanatical obedience. I’ll admit, the Virgo in me likes the idea of scientific precision, with little notebooks and charts and sample posters and vials with labels on them. Unfortunately, the ENFP in me means that I’m likely to buy all the stuff and use them twice before abandoning my intentions to slapdashery.
Barbara had everything ready for us. We used ProChem wash fast acid dyes - only 8 colors, the primaries in warm and cool tones plus navy and black. And what a rainbow we produced. and what surprises too. Jen’s red took over her camo colors while the turquoise in my purple separated around the edges transitioning into a green when it crept into the yellow places.
Dyeing is a fairly logical process - although the world of color mixing is so vast you could spend a lifetime exploring it. But the wisdom of a teacher can not be overemphasized. Important tips Barbara taught us as we moved through the day:
· one drop of black can make yellow into gold
· test your color ideas with drops of color on a white paper towel - or better yet - onto a silk cap or hankie
· keep your water temperatures the same
· don’t poke at your wool
· be ready for surprises
We dyed one 8 oz length of Merino roving using the pour method. Both Jen and I were sure the colors would run into each other and become mud but though we both got surprises, we neither of us got mud! It seems that the color gets into properly prepared wool fast - it is setting it there permanently that requires the 1 hour of cooking - so if you wait about 5 minutes between adding colors, you will get some blending where two colors meet, but not mud. as long as you don’t stir!!
We then painted two yard lengths of prepared roving with squeeze bottles. These were wrapped in plastic food wrap and steamed for 30 minutes - a shorter process than the pour method. Both of us were pretty heavy handed with our colors. We kept wanting to make sure all the white got colored. What we learned was that a little white between the colors is good. If you wait about 30 minutes before steaming, you’ll actually see the color move into the white places.
I’ll admit - my skill level at color blending is somewhere around 60’s tie dyeing colors - everything is BOLD and VIVID and CONTRASTING. I also know, though, from spinning vivid colored silk, that these noisy colors calm down a bit when you spin them. Which I shall do today, since I just checked and the smaller lengths are dry. Yippee! When something is done I’ll post pictures.
We also pick up the photos of the trip today - all 390 of them. so I will begin my travelogue either today or tomorrow morning.
I could get used to this vacation stuff - why can’t I have Life Off With Pay?
posted by Bess | 9:39 AM